On Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, the Comboni Missionaries will hold their 47th annual Dinner Dance at Via Bella Banquets in Countryside, and the venerable group will mark the special occasion by honoring Francis Cardinal George.
Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Ph.D., S.T.D., was born on Jan. 16, 1937, in Chicago to Francis J. and Julia R. (McCarthy) George. After attending St. Pascal Elementary School in Chicago, he attended St. Henry Preparatory Seminary in Belleville.
He entered the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate on Aug. 14, 1957, studying theology at the University of Ottawa in Canada, and was ordained a priest by the Most Rev. Raymond P. Hillinger on Dec. 21, 1963, at St. Pascal Church.
He earned a masterâ€™s degree in philosophy at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., in 1965 and a doctorate in American philosophy at Tulane University in New Orleans in 1970.
In 1971, he received a master’s degree in theology from the University of Ottawa. During those years, he also taught philosophy at the Oblate Seminary in Pass Christian, Miss. (1964-69); Tulane University in New Orleans (1968); and at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. (1969-73).
He was Provincial Superior of the Midwestern Province for the Oblates (1973-74) and Vicar General of the Oblates in Rome (1974-86). He returned to the United States to coordinate the Circle of Fellows for the Cambridge Center for the Study of Faith and Culture in Cambridge, Mass. (1987-90). During that time, he obtained a Doctorate of Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Urban University in Rome (1989).
Pope John Paul II appointed him Bishop of Yakima, Wash., on July 10, 1990, and then appointed him Archbishop of Portland, Ore., on April 30, 1996. Less than a year later, on April 8, 1997, Pope John Paul II named him the eighth Archbishop of Chicago. He is the first native Chicagoan to serve in that position.
On January 18, 1998, Pope John Paul II announced Archbishop Georgeâ€™s elevation to the Sacred College of Cardinals. In November 2007, Cardinal George was elected president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for a three-year term.
Francis Cardinal George will be celebrating his 50th anniversary of his Priestly Ordination this December.